Thursday, July 5, 2012
USAC Western Sprints and Midgets Kick off Kaeding Classic on Friday
by Steven Blakesley
WATSONVILLE, Calif. -- Traditional non-wing USAC Western Classic Sprints and USAC Western Midgets will kick off this weekend's "Howard Kaeding Classic" on Friday night at Ocean Speedway Watsonville. The second annual Kaeding Classic at John Prentice's Ocean Speedway includes a full night of USAC action on Friday night followed by the return of the Golden State King of the West on Saturday night, presented by High Five Pizza Co.
The USAC races will be a match-up of the local stars versus the best drivers on the tour. The series combines restricted 410 cubic inch entries along with 360 cubic inch cars and also counts races on pavement for it's 2012 championship. Two-time Ocean Speedway wingless champion Ryan Bernal of Hollister, with six USAC wins, and 2012 Ocean Sprints points leader Shane Golobic of Fremont, are both expected to run double-duty on Friday.
Bernal has won six USAC features in 2012 including two Western Midget wins, three USAC West Coast 360 wins, and a win at Ocean in April with the USAC Western Classic Sprints. Bernal also finished second in the USAC/CRA event at Ocean in June.
The USAC Western Classic Sprints are led by female driver Shauna Hogg of Fair Oaks. Hogg drives a family owned #5 entry and has a 77 point advantage over eight-time USAC champion Tony Hunt. Hunt was the 2011 USAC Western Classic pavement champion and won the series event at Madera in May.
Other USAC Western Classic regulars expected on Friday include Winton's Gordon Rodgers, Santa Rosa's Marty Hawkins, Rancho Cordova's Jerry Cisco, Orland's Taylor Simas, Tom Baker, and Modesto's Jimmy Riddell. The Western Sprints will be joined by numerous local drivers including both Bud and Brent Kaeding who are expected to defend the Kaeding namesake in the race.
Over on the USAC Western Midget side, Shannon McQueen of Bakersfield holds a 64 point lead over Alamo's Scott Pierovich. McQueen has a best finish of third this year at Santa Maria Speedway. The series has raced twice on pavement and three times on dirt so far in 2012, with race winners this year including Bernal (two), Chad Nichols, Brad Kuhn, and Pierovich who was the recent winner on pavement at Madera.
USAC Western Midgets have not competed on the Ocean Speedway quarter-mile in many years and should be a treat for the fans. The top-ten in series points is McQueen, Pierovich, Nick Chivello, Jake Swanson, David Prickett, Cole Carter, Connor Kassik, Alex Schutte, Frankie Guerrini, and Cody Swanson. Adam Kaeding is expected to run the Cliff Blackwell #27b in the Midget competition as well.
Friday's racing activities featuring the USAC Western Classic Sprints and USAC Western Midgets will also include Four Bangers and American Stocks. Adult tickets are $20 with seniors 65+ $18 and kids ages 6-12 are $15. Qualifying will get underway at approximately 6 p.m. with fan gates opening at 4:30 p.m.
Saturday's racing action will include Golden State King of the West, BAD Dwarf Cars, IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Mods, and Wingless Sprints.
For more on the Ocean Speedway visit http://www.oceanspeedway.com